Instagram has quickly become one of the most competitive and sought-after social media platforms for small businesses to utilize. With now over two billion monthly active users worldwide, Instagram is an app that you should be using as effectively as possible to boost your business profile’s engagement and relevance.
After going through the steps to create an Instagram profile for your business, which is simple and quick to do, the key is getting noticed and standing out in a crowd of countless other users. This is where hashtags come in.
Hashtags are your ticket to reaching specific audiences that you want to see your posts. Targeting desired audiences through tagging is nothing new for users on the now decade-plus old platform, but Instagram has an additional feature that can help increase your visibility on the app if it is used correctly.
Instagram’s Weekend Hashtag Project (#WHP) offered users the potential to be promoted directly by the app, and this was one of the ways they actively did so. Each week, the project suggested different themes and hashtags, where users were encouraged to submit posts that fit the designated criteria.
Is the #WHP still relevant?
Short answer: No. As of May 2019, Instagram’s Weekend Hashtag Project is no longer an active campaign. However, this doesn’t mean you should stop being mindful of the hashtags you use. It’s important to stay on top of current trends promoted by the app and follow the best social media marketing practices so that your business can receive as much exposure and recognition as possible.
Why you should still be using hashtags in your posts
Even though the #WHP is not currently active, that does not mean your business should not be
Conscious of the hashtags you’re using on the photos you share. Hashtags serve as Instagram’s sorting process. With millions of photos shared each day, it would be impossible for the platform to deliver every photo to the perfect people. By using hashtags, you’re increasing the chances of your posts (and profile) being discovered by people who are the most interested in seeing them. Reaching your target audience is one of the main advantages of using hashtags effectively, and you’re more likely to see engagement with your posts as a result.
Best hashtag practices
Becoming hashtag savvy will help you become successful in using your Instagram to its fullest potential.
How many should you be using?
The limit on hashtags for each post is 30, with the average number of hashtags per post standing at 11. It’s up to you to discover what number works best for you and your marketing goals but remember more doesn’t necessarily mean better.
Should you put hashtags with every post?
Yes! Undoubtedly, hashtags are the key to leading more people to your photos and your profile. Narrowing your hashtags down so they’re as specific as possible can be hugely beneficial in reaching people who are directly interested in that subject and content.
Should you use the same hashtags for every post I make?
No. Even if you’re sharing similar photos each time you post, Instagram’s algorithm may penalize you for sharing too many repeat tags by pushing down your posts. They could also ban your account altogether if they suspect you’re spamming users with identical tags, or they may think that you’re a bot. So be careful and intentional with the tags you’re using on each post you share.
How do you hide hashtags, so they don’t clutter up a post?
Many Instagram users have now found ways to “hide” hashtags on their posts so that they aren’t the primary focus of a caption. There are a few ways to do this effectively. One way is to leave a comment on your post with the desired hashtags you want to use. This way, users won’t see it until they physically go to the comment section, and it doesn’t take away your post’s chance of being discovered by target audiences. Alternatively, you can push the hashtags down in a caption, so they aren’t immediately visible by either making your text more than three lines long or including three- or five-line breaks with punctuation.
What hashtags should you avoid using?
Instagram has a list of banned hashtags that users are not permitted to use. Many are obvious, but others can be discovered by typing them into the app’s search function. If no results appear after typing in the desired hashtag, that means it’s banned.
Utilizing the most effective hashtags for your company
Hashtags offer a lot of versatility and opportunities for such small fragments of text. It’s important for you to keep track of what hashtags will benefit your company’s posts the most.
Some examples of hashtags to use include:
These hashtags narrow down what your business does and the kind of services and products you provide.
These hashtags are incredibly important for building a community around your business and brand. This can be a short phrase, business name or a specific product. Something that is ultimately specific and recognizable to your business.
Instagram community hashtags related to your industry or business
Using these hashtags are a good way to gain visibility and recognition in communities of other brands (and by extension their like-minded customers) who do what you do.
A simple but effective way to get the attention of potential customers in your area.
If your business is hosting a specific event or conference, you want to bring people’s attention to it and showcase what you have put together.
Business accounts can definitely benefit from using this specific hashtag. This hashtag is perfect for daily posts and themes and is an effective way to increase your post interactions, exposure, and daily visitors.
Ultimately, it’s most important to be consistent and up to date with your Instagram posts and hashtag usage. Follow the most popular hashtags and see what’s trending. Using hashtags that are reflective of your business, products and overall brand are what will attract your target audience and people who will hopefully become dedicated customers. In an age where social media continues to grow in importance, especially for small business exposure, it’s necessary to be mindful and knowledgeable about the most effective platform practices.
Contact the marketing team at REM to discuss options for your digital marketing. We can’t wait to help you get noticed!